JANVIER v 834474 ALBERTA LTD, 2010 ABQB 800


6.14: Appeal from master’s judgment or order
15.12: New test or criteria

Case Summary

The Defendants appealed a Master’s Decision which denied their Application for Summary Judgment.

Pursuant to Rule 15.12, the Court held that Rule 6.14, which provides for an Appeal from a Master to a Justice, applied to the Appeal before it. In making this finding, the Court noted that the law in Alberta for over 90 years had been that Masters’ Decisions were considered de novo and no deference was given to a Master’s Decision. However, Rule 6.16 “changes the way in which an Appeal Court is to consider an appeal from a decision of the Master.” In particular “an appeal from a Master is no longer a hearing de novo. It is now an appeal on the record. As such, the standard of review of the decision of the Master must be determined before the Appeal Court considers the appeal on its merits”. Accordingly the Court considered the different standards of review applicable depending on the issues that arise on Appeal and held:

…the standard of review on a decision from the Master on a question of law is correctness. The standard of review for facts accepted by the Master or factual inferences drawn by the Master from the evidence is reasonableness. The finding must amount to a palpable and overriding error. The imputed error must be plainly identified and must be shown to have affected the result. On a question of mixed fact and law, if that principle of law cannot be extricated from the question, then the standard of review is again one of reasonableness only to be interfered with if a palpable and overriding error can be shown. If the principle of law can be extricated from the question, then the standard of review on the principle of law is correctness.

As with other appellate reviews, the new Rules require the Court to engage in an analysis as to the appropriate standard of review, prior to considering the substantive merits of the Appeal itself on an Appeal from a Master.

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